Department SpotlightWhitworth Alumnus Incorporates Swing Dancing and Social Issues into Art
From marriage proposals to swing dancing, Whitworth alumnus Jason Reynolds, '03, incorporates important aspects of his life into his artwork with skill and emotion. Reynolds has exhibited his work in various venues, including the Kent Arts Commission Gallery, in Kent, Wash., and a Washington State Association of Senior Centers private showing in Spokane. He was also a 2002 featured artist at the Kent Canterbury Fair.
Reynolds, who graduated with a bachelor's degree in art, focused primarily on drawing, painting, printmaking and graphic design as a student. He is currently employed at Spokane Art Supply, in Spokane, and hopes in the near future to pursue an internship in the area of graphic arts. His plans also include a move to the Tri-Cities, where he and his fiancée will marry in May. Reynolds proposed on the two-year anniversary of their first date, hiding a note with the proposal on the back of a favorite painting.
Reynolds came to Whitworth in 1999, leaving a legacy as an exceptional athlete in his hometown of Federal Way, Wash. His athletics career as a baseball player continued at Whitworth until his junior year, when he found the sport to be too time consuming.
"In the beginning, when I was pursuing a degree in business, it was convenient to be able to do coursework while on athletics trips," Reynolds says. "After I decided to focus on an art degree, it was obvious that I would not be able to take my canvas on the bus when my teammates all had notebooks." He also suffered an arm injury during his junior year that contributed to his decision not to participate in the sport.
When reflecting on his time at Whitworth, Reynolds shows great appreciation for those who influenced his choice in careers. Whitworth art professors Gordon Wilson, Barbara Filo, and Scott Kolbo are among those who encouraged him to pursue his passion for art.
"Scott Kolbo contributed greatly to my education," Reynolds says. "He helped me to define art for what it really is - more content driven than technical - and he helped me determine what it means to be an artist."
Reynolds' work focuses on subjects ranging from interracial relationships to his interest in swing dancing. As the product of an interracial marriage, Reynolds finds deep meaning in the first of these two topics, and the diversity of his interests has contributed to his exploration of the more content-driven aspects of art.